Category Archives: General

Endangered Argentine Treasure

One of the most precious and threatened species from Argentina are native languages. Such is their importance, that UNESCO declared Argentina’s linguistic diversity as a part of the national heritage in 2010. However, some of them, not to say most, are going through a process of oblivion.

Before colonization, there were about 20 native groups along the territory of Argentina. Each of them had their own tongue and variants. For example, some of the Mapuche, Tehuelche and Qom communities used to live in the Buenos Aires region; most Guaraníes used to live in the province of Corrientes, in the north-east of Argentina; and Tehuelches were also in Patagonia, the southern region.

Nowadays, approximately 15 native languages are still alive but with different levels of vitality (vulnerable, endangered, extinct). This status can be seen in UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Here are some examples of various Argentine native languages and their condition:

According to this map, the tongue wichi, native to Chaco, in the north of Argentina, is vulnerable as many people from young age speak it, but wichi is not used in certain contexts.

Quechua from Santiago del Estero, in the north of the country, is definitely endangered because it is not taught as a mother tongue. Similarly, in Corrientes, Mbya Guarani is severely endangered as only the elderly speak it, their children may understand it, but their grandsons and granddaughters do not learn it. This means an increased use of Spanish at the expense of native tongues.

Finally, one example of an extinct language is gününa-këna in Patagonia. The disappearance of this tongue means a loss of an important piece from Argentine cultural treasure.

Languages are a vital part of identities as customs and traditions are passed through native tongues. Therefore, to prevent languages from becoming vulnerable, endangered —and consequently— extinct, greater awareness of languages’ importance is needed, both at national and international level.

One international entity, the United Nations, is already thinking about this and has decided to dedicate next year to indigenous languages. UN aims to promote different actions for the preservation and growth of indigenous languages around the world.

Here at Baquero Translations, we embrace language diversity and join this movement of raising awareness, starting with this article. It is essential that we all get to know other tongues that existed before Spanish colonization, as each language is part of our history and it occupies —or used to occupy— a place in the diverse Argentine melting pot.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

 

Expanding Accessibility with Audio Description

Audio Description is one of the key components in making audiovisual material inclusive.

For those who are not familiar with AD, it consists in describing the visual content of a form of art. With audio description, the visually impaired can get the essential details like gestures, signs, clothes, change of scenes, etc., which cannot be perceived through voices or music. It functions like closed caption for the hearing impaired.

Nowadays, audio description is available on many TV channels, but the availability of that function has to be previously checked. In the U.S., major TV channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, USA, the Disney Channel, and The History Channel are required by law to provide 50 hours of audio description.

Video description is also used for live performances. Usually, there is a professional audio describer who narrates the important visual details with a microphone, and this description can be heard through headphones provided by the theater. AD can be previously prepared, especially for plays. In Spain, a mobile app has been developed, “Teatro Accesible”, which has the audio description of certain plays ready to be used by the audience.

Several movies have audio description, too. In this case, the description is previously recorded and synchronized. This service does not replace the soundtrack but complements the movie by placing the description in the pauses. Here, in Córdoba, there are movie theaters like the Gran Rex, which offer headphones to hear the audio description of certain movies. AD can be also found on Netflix, YouTube and Argentine web pages, where audio description can be downloaded and applied to already existing movies.

This extremely helpful service can be offered by linguists as video description and translation have a lot in common. For both tasks professional needs to do the following:

  • Research into the subject matter and its context

In order to make a good audio description, the audio describer needs to be informed about the topic of the play, movie or TV program. Apart from reading the script, the audio describer needs to know about the year, place, and social context in which the material was produced so as to make an accurate description and to choose the right words. This involves carrying out a detailed research with reliable resources, which translators are used to.

  •  Have a deep knowledge on linguistics

Language per se is not the only means through which we convey meaning. Intonation, pronunciation, image, sounds, songs and even silences become really important for an effective audio description. It is essential that the audio describer has a thorough knowledge of the interaction of all these elements to exploit them in their favor.

  • Be neutral

As in translation, audio describers need to be faithful to the source material and be as objective as possible. Even though complete objectivity is impossible, the audio describer should aim to be neutral and let the audience make their own interpretations since they can easily become an omniscient narrator letting their subjectivity interfere in the message.

At BT, we participate in an audio description research at the National University of Cordoba, including the School of Communication Sciences and the School of Languages, to set, strengthen, and facilitate AD guidelines. With audio description, we are making materials accessible to people and we are collaborating with a more inclusive world.

By: Andrea Chetti

Celebrating International Translation Day

Finally came the day of the year when we celebrate: International Translation Day! Every September 30th translators beam with pride while receiving greetings from colleagues and close friends.

Officially, it all started with Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible from Greek into Latin. With this project, he was also the precursor of the translation theory “sense by sense”, as this was the methodology he applied and defended against the advocators of translating word by word. Even though at that time-IV century-, the people who translated were not recognized as professionals, this set an official precedent of our work.

In 1953, the International Translation Federation (FIT) established the day of the death of Saint Jerome as Translators’ day.

Since then, the FIT has promoted the festivity of this day, and, in 1991, it established the official International Translation Day in order to reach out to more people across the world and to clear away the religious connotation this day previously had. Every year, the FIT commemorates it with a particular theme. This year, the theme proposed was: “Translation: promoting cultural heritage in changing times”. The idea behind this topic is to shine a light on the importance of translation in understanding different cultures. Besides, the selected topic is linked to the United Nations’ 2019 theme: “International Year of Indigenous Languages”. The FIT invited all members to celebrate and share the poster in our article from September 24th to 30th.

The UN has also taken part in the commemoration and recognition of translators’ role as last year the resolution 71/288 was issued by the United Nations General Assembly. In this resolution, apart from recognizing the 30th of September as the International Translation Day, they stated: “International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.” From this perspective, translators are regarded as bridges between cultures.

The American Translation Association (ATA) could not miss this celebration and joined the party. They suggested educating the public, which means to clarify certain misunderstandings by sharing images in various kinds of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These images show typical questions made by people who are not so close to the language industry.

Here in Baquero Translations, our staff have also joined the commemoration and wished a fantastic day to all translators. We understand the significance and impact of translation in today’s world; that is why we put so much emphasis on quality. Thus, this Sunday was a special day to thank all the people that work with and accompany us in this quest for excellence.

By: Andrea Chetti

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the first industrial revolution, we stopped using animals to use machines; then, we made mass production possible to later become digital and reduce production costs. Now, the fourth industrial revolution faces us with technological advances that merge physical, digital and biological worlds and promises to change the way we live, relate and work. Business models are disrupted and employment seems to be widely impacted with a huge job displacement: the rise of machines!!!

The fourth industrial revolution entails changes in different existential fields: ethics and limits of AI, new business-client relationships with digitalization, fusion of technologies and disciplines, inequality and the impact on social stability, etc. However, although we are going through the fourth industrial revolution already the fear of all humans has not changed, on the contrary, it has always been the same: losing our jobs. Actually, machines are rising to support human activities and help to cover our needs in a better way or even faster.

According to Alejandro Melamed -HR Consultant-, it is not about the humans Vs robots but about understanding what is it that we want from the robot and the human. Any repetitive action with little creativity is likely to become a commodity. However, thinking, creativity, innovation, added value, empathy and above all passion will never become commodities.

In today’s world where communications are fast and the amount of data is huge, translation needs to merge both concepts to adjust: automation and creativity. Just as the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk puts it, it is no longer possible to think in monovalent or bivalent concepts: body-soul, spirit-matter, subject-object, freedom-mechanism, machines-humans. At BT we embrace technology to put our most human part on every translation!

By: Juan A. Baquero

All You Need Is PMing

There’s nothing you can manage that can’t be managed.

Would it be to exaggerate if I said “All you need is PMing”?

Well, after reading about project management you will realize how necessary it is for both, a company and its clients.

Project management is essential since it leads a company’s production to be achieved in the best way possible. This means that a Project Manager has to meet clients’ requests, and, at the same time, she/he has to act according to the best interests of the company. For this, PMs need to do a careful analysis, assignment, control, and delivery. Easier said than done! That’s why we asked our staff for their opinion on successful project management:

  1. Be clear and precise:

“In order to prevent problems in our projects, we should be explicit and precise at communicating with our clients and resources. Thus, we should provide all the information and instructions that we have at our disposal; define preventive measures, if needed; and have a clear understanding about the scope of our job.” –Natalia Szachta, Production Manager, TILP Certified.

  1. Offer alternatives:

“Project managers should offer different alternatives to achieve the same goal. Some projects are sent in a preset way, after analyzing and resorting to our experience with other projects, we can come up with different ways of running it: a more efficient, safer and cheaper way. Communicating the best options for carrying out a project is an added value.” –Jorgelina Venturi, Project Manager

  1. Know how to prioritize:

“As PMs, we know that many times we are in a race against the clock. Everything has to be done perfectly. This is when we need to take action and knowing how to prioritize tasks is essential. Everything is important and everything needs to be done, but we cannot do everything at the same time while ensuring the best quality. Thus, we should take some minutes, analyze each task and prioritize. Watch out! Priorities can change all of a sudden, that’s why analyzing tasks permanently is so important to accommodate to the changing priorities.” –Catalina De Sanctis, Project Manager

  1. Do one thing at a time:

“Nowadays, multitasking is highly valued, and it is crucial in a PM’s job. However, we should not confuse how multitasking should be performed: take one step at a time. This does not mean to do it slowly, but to get it right the first time. You may try to do three or four things at the same time, and the result will usually be chaos. Thus, make a list of tasks, choose the most important one—not always the most urgent—focus on it to perform it without mistakes; and once you finish, move on to the next one. You will be more efficient as you will not need to clear up a mess. Do multitasking, but in a progressive manner.” –Andrea Chetti, Project Manager

Successful PMing depends on these as well as on other good PMing practices. If life was a project, we could also apply them to our everyday life: be clear to avoid conflicts; offer alternatives; prioritize; and do your tasks one at a time. After all, PMing is all you need…

By: Andrea Chetti.

Keeping Steady in Turbulent Waters – Our 2018 Navigation Chart

When Argentineans thought that we were sailing in calm waters, our ship was struck once again in May by another financial crisis. But the truth is that we are used to sailing in turbulent waters and I have the feeling we actually enjoy the adrenaline and enjoy the challenge of keeping our ship sailing in the right direction.

Baquero Translations has been able to steadily grow its revenue by 25% yearly since 2015 thanks to its crew of experts. In 2018 we set sails to continue to invest in our company and expand our business, from technological advances and staffing to marketing activities.

More growth means more work and, in order to bear with it, we needed to acquire new technology and onboard new members to our crew to facilitate and streamline certain processes.  We consolidated the use of our PMS, Gespoint, that helps us easily and timely track projects, invoice and issue payments, as well as generating company performance reports. We incorporated Machine Translation and Post-Editing into our production process in order to meet the demands of our clients and the needs of the market. We hired a dedicated QA Manager, Diego Mengo, to make sure our products meet our client’s expectations. In addition, we hired a new Project Manager, Andrea Chetti, to help us handle the increase in volume. Our Project Management Outsourcing Service team almost doubled this year, adding 4 new members and expecting to hire other 3 members in the next few months.

Away from cutting costs, our marketing and sales activities in 2018 continued to rise. In March, we attended and sponsored the GALA Conference in Boston, one of the most important translation-industry conferences, we attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where we expanded our horizon into the game-localization industry, and in May we attended ELIA ND Focus networking days for executives in Catania, Sicily. Baquero Translations has also hired Larry Salas and Doris Johnson as part of its international sales efforts.

While we sail in these stormy waters of the second semester, we will continue to have our sails high in our masts with more trainings, strengthening our relationships with our clients and colleagues, adding more services to our portfolio, partnerships and academic research.

Juan A. Baquero
General Director

A review on The General Theory of the Translation Company

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to meet Tucker Johnson but, for better or for worse, I met Renato Beninatto many years ago when I was taking my first steps in the translation industry. Since then, I haven’t been able to make up my mind on if I like him or not. I don’t think he cares much about it anyways.

When I heard he had published his book, I thought I wouldn’t buy it. But I couldn’t resist the curiosity of knowing what it was that he had to say now.

Not surprisingly, I found it very easy to read. It has a very conversational style. You can almost hear Renato talking conveying his ideas in his distinctively direct way. They argued that if you read the book, it was because you were looking for answers. Although I don’t think I was, I found many interesting and enlightening concepts.

As an LSP owner, the first part of the book was particularly interesting to realize where you are located as a company in the language industry and why the industry works the way it works. Things that are not entirely new but that are always good to remember The authors define the translation industry, they identify the different layers (market influencers, support activities and core functions). As I said, they define the language industry as a value chain, where depending on the value you provide to customers you may be higher or lower in the chain. Renato and Tucker’s ideas on how easily or not you may move up or down was one of the richest food for thought. They permanently talk about identifying and adding value to your services through innovation.

The second part of the book was about support activities (management, structure, finance, culture, facilities/HR, technology, and QA) and core functions (vendor management, project management, and sales). They describe each of them in detail and clearly explain why they are important to the overall functioning of a language company. But above all, it was about making LSPs realize they should always think of themselves as global companies instead of thinking small.

I believe The General Theory of the Translation Company is a really inspiring book to realize where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there.

Thanks a lot for reading.
Thanks a lot for sharing.